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SOUTH-WESTERN LEGAL STUDIES IN BUSINESS CASE UPDATES—CRIMINAL LAW
SW Legal's Case Updates is a SW Legal Studies service to provide briefs of the latest state and federal court cases. Review the summaries and, for cases of interest, select the case brief. If you cannot find a case of interest,return to Topic Index .
Title
Summary
"Title" from Owner of Stolen Property to Possessor Does Not Make Possession Legal
Briefed Case

Appeals court upheld conviction of an attorney who was in possession of paintings he knew were stolen. He got the rightful owner to give him title to some of the paintings in return for one. Since that agreement was for an illegal purpose, the title was invalid and he was guilty of possession of stolen property.
(Updated June 2010)

Restitution from Possessor of Illegal Child Pornography to Children Abused Not Justified
Briefed Case

The possessor of child pornography was sentenced to 14 years in prison. The government requested that he be ordered to pay restitution to the children abused in the making of the material. The judge denied the request, noting that the possessor of the material was not involved in the production of the material.
(Updated June 2010)

Sentencing Guidelines Are Guidelines, Not Statutory Requirements
Briefed Case

Appeals court held that the Sentencing Guidelines are to give guidance to judges in sentencing, but, unless a statute requires a specific sentence be imposed, judges are not required to follow the sentences recommended by the Guidelines.
(Updated April 2010)

Significant Deviation from Sentencing Guidelines Must Be Justified by Court
Briefed Case

Appeals court vacated a light sentence imposed on a defendant who pleaded guilty to defrauding the government. Since the trial court ignored expert testimony about the loss suffered, and concluded there was no loss, this allowed a light sentence to be imposed. Such a sentence must be justified by the trial court.
(Updated March 2010)

Violation of State Law Can Set Basis for Conviction of Federal Mail and Wire Fraud Laws
Briefed Case

Appeals court held that a scam by New Mexico insurance regulators that violated state law could be the basis for federal conviction for mail fraud and wire fraud. The actions that violated state law were executed in a manner that violated federal law.
(Updated March 2010)

Cost of Damage to Property May Depend on Location
Briefed Case

Nevada high court affirmed conviction for gross misdemeanor injury to property, a level achieved because the cost of repairing the property was higher than usual due to its location. The court held that the fact of where damage occurs, and therefore the cost of the damage, is relevant and a lower cost that would occur in another location need not be assigned by the court.
(Updated February 2010)

Search and Seizure Rules Apply to State Actors, Not Other Parties
Briefed Case

New Mexico high court held that the cocaine a private guard took from a person suspected of fighting in a shopping mall could not be suppressed as evidence against the suspect. While the search and seizure that found the cocaine was improper, the Fourth Amendment rules regarding searches applies to state actors, such as the police, not private parties.
(Updated November 2009)

Bank a “Victim” Due Restitution from Defendant Who Committed Fraud against Bank
Briefed Case

Tennessee appeals court held that under the state victim restitution statute, a trial court could impose on a defendant convicted of defrauding a bank out of money, a requirement that defendant repay the bank for the funds improperly obtained.
(Updated June 2009)

Garbage Bags Put Outside for Collection Not Protected Against Search and Seizure
Briefed Case

Wyoming high court held that when a person puts trash outside for collection there is no reasonable expectation of privacy. Hence, it was not an illegal search and seizure for police to take a trash bag looking for evidence of suspected drug dealing, which was confirmed and resulted in an arrest and conviction.
(Updated June 2009)

Warrantless Searches at Border Allowed
Briefed Case

Appeals court held that border inspections do not require a warrant. A more invasive inspection, involving the targeting of a particular person, is allowed when there is a reasonable basis for the decision to engage in such a search without a warrant.
(Updated May 2009)

Low-Quality Counterfeit Money Can Support Counterfeiting Conviction
Briefed Case

A cashier at a store who knowingly accepted counterfeit bills that were made on a color copier machine could be convicted of conspiracy to engage in counterfeiting. The jury accepted the fact that the fake money looked real enough to justify conviction.
(Updated May 2009)

Willful Blindness to Duty to Pay Taxes Allows Enhanced Sentence
Briefed Case

Appeals court held that when one intentionally evades paying income taxes then one is willfully blind to a legal obligation. That fact plays a role in the trial and in the sentencing, which can mean a stronger sentence than would be imposed otherwise.
(Updated May 2009)

Lying About Presence of Person Sought by Police Not Grounds for Conviction
Briefed Case

New Hampshire high court held that to lie to police about the presence of a person they are seeking is not sufficient to convict that person for the crime of harboring or concealing another. There must be an active act, such as physically hiding the person sought by police, for a conviction to hold.
(Updated February 2009)

Evidence Not Suppressed for Violation of a Statutory Right
Briefed Case

Appeals court held that evidence obtained that involved violation of patient privacy rights would not be suppressed. Evidence is suppressed when a constitutional right is violated or when a statute expressly provides for suppression. That is not the case under the federal law concerning medical privacy rights.
(Updated January 2009)

Property Used in Commission of a Crime May Be Forfeited to the Government
Briefed Case

Judge upheld the request of the government that a couple, convicted of holding illegal aliens, who were subject to brutal mistreatment, in their home for years, be required to forfeit their home to the government, besides the prison terms given to the couple.
(Updated October 2008)

Private Cause of Action Exists for RICO Criminal Violations
Briefed Case

Supreme Court held that if a party rigged a public bidding process, thereby causing competitors to lose prospective business, the losers had a private right of action to sue under RICO. The party that rigged the bidding process was accused of engaging in mail fraud, a criminal offense, which could give rise to the suit.
(Updated October 2008)

Counterfeiting Trademarks Is Crime of Moral Turpitude
Briefed Case

Appeals court upheld a ruling by the immigration service that an alien convicted of making and selling counterfeit goods that violated registered trademarks committed a crime of moral turpitude. The act involved fraud, which is clearly moral turpitude, and is grounds for deportation.
(Updated September 2008)

Property Seized in Drug Busts Must Be Subject to Prompt Proceedings
Briefed Case

Appeals court held that the state of Illinois, which allowed over three months before requiring proceedings to determine the fate of property such as cars taken by police in a drug bust, must be subject to administrative proceedings more quickly to possibly allow the owner to regain possession of the property.
(Updated June 2008)

Courts May Deviate from Guidelines Rules Based on Totality of Circumstances
Briefed Case

Supreme Court held that a district court did not violate the Sentencing Guidelines by giving probation to a guilty party who would have been sent to prison under Guideline standards. Judges have the discretion to review all circumstances and can justify greater or lower sentences.
(Updated May 2008)

Viewing Content of Laptop at Border Is Not Unreasonable or Offensive Search
Briefed Case

Appeals court held that border officials may search laptops and other electronic equipment without a warrant or without reasonable suspicion. So long as searches are not done in an offensive manner, they are a normal part of border control.
(Updated May 2008)

State Homestead Law Does Not Protect Property against Seizure in Criminal Conviction
Briefed Case

Appeals court held that when a defendant did not have enough cash to cover a payment ordered by a court upon conviction of a crime, the government could seize the defendant’s interest in his homestead. The state homestead exemption is overridden by federal criminal law.
(Updated March 2008)

Government Participation in Internet Sting Not Entrapment
Briefed Case

Appeals court upheld the conviction of an adult who attempted to solicit sex with a supposed 13-year-old. The government informant posing as the child did not initiate the illegal transaction, so it was not entrapment.
(Updated March 2008)

Company Can Lose License to Work for Paying Bribes Extorted by Inspector
Briefed Case

Appeals court held that a food company could lose its license to operate based on the criminal conviction of a company officer who paid a bribe to a government inspector. Even if paying such bribes was common in the industry, and was extorted by the inspector, the company is responsible.
(Updated January 2008)

Forfeiture of All Cash Being Smuggled Is Fitting Penalty
Briefed Case

Appeals court held that the forfeiture of a large quantity of cash not reported when being taken out of the country does not violate the Eighth Amendment restriction on excessive fines. Taking large quantities of unreported cash out of the country is linked to criminal activity, so the penalty is not excessive.
(Updated January 2008)

Sentence Longer than Guidelines Maximum Can Be Justified
Briefed Case

Appeals court held that a trial court may impose a sentence that exceeds the maximum under the Sentencing Guidelines so long as the court provides a clear analysis of the reason that justifies the harsher penalty.
(Updated December 2007)

Trial Judges May Not Stray Far from Sentencing Guidelines
Briefed Case

Appeals court held it unreasonable for a trial judge to impose a sentence of 60 months’ probation when the Sentencing Guidelines recommend a sentence of 7-8 years’ in prison, possibly reduced to 5 years’ for cooperation in investigation. The judge must impose a sentence justified by the Guidelines.
(Updated December 2007)

No Conviction for Planning Drug Operations That Occur Outside of the Country
Briefed Case

Appeals court held that parties in the U.S. who coordinated the sale of illegal drugs outside of the country could not be convicted of violating U.S. drug laws since the statutes do not apply to violations that occur outside of the U.S.
(Updated November 2007)

One Trial Sufficient for Related Charges
Briefed Case

Appeals court held that when a jury acquitted a criminal defendant on one of two charges, and could not reach a verdict on the second charge for the same action, that there could not be a retrial of the second charge or it would violate the Double Jeopardy Clause.
(Updated November 2007)

Government May Move to Enforce Restitution Order at Any Time
Briefed Case

Appeals court held that the government could file a lien to try to help payment of restitution owed as part of a criminal conviction. There is no time limit when such liens may be filed and they are good for up to 20 years when filed.
(Updated October 2007)

Courts May Consider and Reject Rationales Offered for Sentence Reductions
Briefed Case

Appeals court rejected a light sentence imposed on convicted felon as not reasonable. The Sentencing Guidelines are generally to be followed closely; judges are not to deviate from them because they may not think they are a good idea.
(Updated May 2007)

RICO Claim of Extortion against Government Officials Fails
Briefed Case

Supreme Court held that a RICO claim of criminal extortion against federal employees, by a land owner who was pressured to give a federal agency an easement, fails. There may be common law claims for trespass, or administrative claims of improper procedure, but there is no federal claim of extortion allowed in this instance.
(Updated August 2007)

Courts Will Follow Sentencing Guidelines
Briefed Case

Appeals court rejected a light sentence imposed on convicted felon as not reasonable. The Sentencing Guidelines are generally to be followed closely; judges are not to deviate from them because they may not think they are a good idea.
(Updated May 2007)

State Identity Theft Law Does Not Conflict with Federal Identity Theft Law
Briefed Case

Georgia high court upheld a conviction for violation of state identify theft law, ruling that federal identity theft law did not prohibit state laws from addressing such matters.
(Updated March 2007)

Related Offenses Treated Separately, Not as One Action, for Sentencing Purposes
Briefed Case

Appeals court held that criminal offenses that are tied to the same action, but have different consequences, will not be treated as one offense for purposes of sentencing under the sentencing guidelines.
(Updated March 2007)

Deadly Force May Be Met with Deadly Force in Self-Defense
Briefed Case

Appeals court held that a person confronted with deadly force has the right to use deadly force in self-defense. In such situation, where the party does not initiate the contact and has a right to be in the location involved, there is no duty to retreat from the party that imposes the threat.
(Updated February 2007)

Company May Be Convicted for Illegal Acts of Its Officers
Briefed Case

Appeals court affirmed the conviction of corporate officers and the liability of their employing corporation in an effort to bribe the leader of a state legislature to secure passage of legislation favorable to company interests.
(Updated January 2007)

Criminal Charges May Be Based on Adding Losses Inflicted on All Victims
Briefed Case

Utah high court held that fraud over a period of time to get money from victims who fell for the scam was one scheme, and the losses could be added together to impose a harsher felony conviction.
(Updated January 2007)

No Right to Warning that Statements During Investigation Could Be Used as Evidence
Briefed Case

Court held that a jury could convict a government administrator for making false statements about a matter he was involved in despite the fact that the administrator was not told during the internal investigation that his statements could become the basis of criminal charges.
(Updated December 2006)

RICO Claim Must Show Proximate Cause of Injury
Briefed Case

Supreme Court held that even if a company engaged in behavior that could be a RICO violation, the parties who are the direct victims of the illegal activity have a cause of action, not those who cannot show proximate cause of losses alleged to have resulted from the illegal behavior.
(Updated December 2006)

Book Authored by Defendant May Be Used in Evidence against Him
Briefed Case

Appeals court upheld a conviction for fraud. To bolster the case against defendant, a book he authored that described the fraud could be used as evidence to show that he understood the scheme very well.
(Updated December 2006)

Prison Sentence Too Light; Be Careful What You Ask For
Briefed Case

Appeals court held that the district court improperly deviated from the federal Sentencing Guidelines by imposing a sentence that was too light. The defendants appeal is rejected and the court will re-sentence the defendant in compliance with the Guidelines.
(Updated October 2006)

Police May Search Property without Warrant When Circumstances Justify
Briefed Case

Appeals court held that evidence was not improperly obtained when police searched the outside grounds around a residence when they were concerned about the location of a woman. Evidence found related to another matter could be used in prosecution.
(Updated August 2006)

Anticipatory Warrants Allowed by Fourth Amendment
Briefed Case

Supreme Court held that anticipatory warrants may be issued so long as the judge or magistrate determined that it is probable that contraband, evidence of a crime, or a fugitive will be on the described premises when the warrant is executed.
(Updated July 2006)

Seller of Unregistered Securities Must Know They Were Subject to Registration
Briefed Case

California high court held that a person charged with selling unregistered securities has an affirmative defense that he believed the securities were exempt from registration and the jury should have been so instructed.
(Updated May 2006)

Prosecution of Identity Fraud Has Multiple Possible Venues
Briefed Case

Georgia high court held that the state constitution requires criminal acts to be prosecuted in the county where the act occurred. Since identity fraud can have an impact in more than one county, the crime may be prosecuted not just in the county where the theft of identify information occurred.
(Updated March 2006)

Knowledge of Use of Substance in Making Illegal Drugs Must Be Shown for Conviction
Briefed Case

Appeals court reversed a conviction of a gas station worker convicted of selling pseudoephedrine, a legal drug used in making methamphetamine. The government failed to show that the worker knew the substance would be used in that manner. Mere possession and sale of pseudoephedrine was not sufficient for conviction.
(Updated February 2006)

Conviction for Conspiracy Does not Require Proof of Action Conspired
Briefed Case
Supreme Court held that a conviction for money laundering could be based on a conspiracy to engage in that act. Under federal law, the penalty can be the same for conspiring to launder money as to actually commit the overt act of money laundering.
(Updated June 2005)
Possession of Stolen Goods in One State Alone Is Not Interstate Transportation of Stolen Goods
Briefed Case
Federal goods were stolen in Washington, D.C. One stolen computer was delivered to a home in Maryland. The person who received the computer cannot be tried in D.C. for possession of stolen federal property, as the person was not involved in moving the goods across state lines. The proper venue for the case is Maryland.
(Updated June 2005)
Serious Threat to Kill President Not Protected by First Amendment
Briefed Case
Appeals court held that a person who makes a knowing and willful threat to kill the president of the U.S. is not protected by First Amendment free speech right when the threat is not seen by others as a joke.
(Updated April 2005)
Duty to Report Suspected Child Abuse Not Unconstitutionally Vague
Briefed Case
Missouri high court held that a nurse could be prosecuted for violating the state law that requires health care professionals to report suspected child abuse. The statutory requirement was not unconstitutional for vagueness as the requirement of the law could be understood by a person of ordinary intelligence.
(Updated October 2004)
Federal Arson Jurisdiction Did Not Cover Arson on State Lands
Briefed Case
Federal court dismissed an indictment against a confessed arsonist who set grass fires that were suppressed by the U.S. Forest Service. Since all of the fires had been set and burned on state land, not federal land, federal criminal law did not apply to the actions.
(Updated October 2004)
Before You Burn Your House Down, Make Sure Your Insurance Is Current
Briefed Case
The North Dakota high court upheld the conviction of a couple for conspiracy to commit arson for the purpose of collecting insurance money on their house. The fact that their insurance had expired did not affect the conviction since they burned the house down and then attempted to collect insurance money.
(Updated January 2004)
Feds Can X-Ray Commercial Shipments Without Warrants If No Privacy Expected
Briefed Case
Appeals court held that a defendant had no expectation of privacy when he shipped cash by Federal Express since the package instructions stated not to ship cash and that the packages could be opened for inspection at any time. The company could allow government agents to x-ray packages without warrants to gather evidence.
(Updated January 2004)
State Must Show Defendant Involved in Stolen Goods Deal to Obtain Inference of Knowledge of Legality of Transaction
Briefed Case
Appeals court reversed a conviction of a pawnshop owner for dealing in stolen goods. The state must provide evidence that the owner was personally involved in a transaction for stolen goods for there to be an inference made to the jury that he knew the property was stolen.
(Updated January 2004)
State Must Follow Notice Procedure Properly in Property Forfeiture Actions
Briefed Case
Texas appeals court held that the state lost its ability to force the forfeiture of property seized during a marijuana bust because it did not file notice of intent to seize the property within the time period set by state law.
(Updated July 2003)
Corporation and Employees May Face Criminal Charges for Bringing Illegal Aliens to the Country for Work
Briefed Case
Trial court held that a corporation and its employees could face criminal charges for helping to bring illegal aliens into the country to work and for helping them to obtain illegal Social Security cards. They could not be charged with illegally providing identification cards, as Social Security cards are not clearly recognized as such.
(Updated July 2003)
Police May Search Computer Files for Evidence of Forgery Crime
Briefed Case
Court held that for the police to search a residence, including a computer in the residence, for evidence of the illegal sale of cable television boxes that allow cable services to be obtained without paying the cable provider. The warrant was based on a reliable search by a private investigator who presented the police sufficient evidence to obtain a search warrant.
(Updated May 2003)
U.S. Courts Will Not Enforce Tax Laws of Other Nations
Briefed Case
Appeals court reversed the conviction of a defendant who was convicted of violating Canadian tax law by smuggling untaxed liquor from the U.S. into Canada. Under the revenue rule, U.S. courts do not enforce foreign tax laws or judgments.
(Updated March 2003)
E-Mailing Stolen Documents Is Interstate Transportation of Stolen Property
Briefed Case
Trial court held that federal charges for transportation of stolen property across state lines applies to a case in which a company employee e-mailed valuable company documents across state lines in an effort to sell such documents to a competitor. The statute applies to all forms of property, including intangible property such as files.
(Updated October 1, 2001)
U.S. Law and Courts Applied to Fraud Executed from Another Nation Via New York
Briefed Case
Appeals court upheld the conviction of a U.S. citizen who worked for the United Nations and used wire fraud to steal money from the U.N. by falsifying invoices submitted from another nation. U.S. law applies because Congress intended the statute to cover such foreign acts and U.S. courts has jurisdiction since the fraud went through New York banks.
(Updated September 1, 2001)
Congress Clearly Chooses to Prohibit All Use of Marijuana; No Medical Exception
Briefed Case
The Supreme Court held that the courts cannot create a common-law or equity medical use exception to the strict federal statute that governs marijuana. Congress has clearly chosen to regulate this drug in a highly restrictive manner, so the courts may not interfere.
(Updated June 1, 2001)
No Expectation of Privacy in Hotel Room Past Checkout Time
Briefed Case
Appeals court upheld conviction for drug possession of couple who stayed in hotel room past checkout time, despite having been reminded. The police, requested by the hotel to assist in eviction, saw drugs in the open when they entered the room after checkout time. The expectation of privacy in the hotel room had been lost.
(Updated May 1, 2001)
Conviction Must Be Based on Violating the Letter of the Law
Briefed Case
The Supreme Court held that Pennsylvania violated the Due Process Clause by imprisoning a person despite the fact that, as the Pennsylvania supreme court later recognized, the letter of the law was not violated. The intent of the law may have been violated, but that is not sufficient for a criminal conviction.
(Updated May 1, 2001)
Counterfeit Securities Need Not Resemble the Real Thing to Be Illegal
Briefed Case
Appeals court held that a conviction for counterfeiting securities would stand despite the fact that the supposed issuer, J.P. Morgan, does not issue the kind of securities in question. The law is intended to cover any counterfeit security that might fool a person of ordinary sensibility.
(Updated March 1, 2001)
Industrial Hemp Is Illegal Marijuana Under Federal Law
Briefed Case
Appeals court held that a farmer who requested a ruling as to the application of federal laws against the possession and use of marijuana applied to industrial hemp has an issue that is ripe for review since he could be prosecuted. Under federal law, industrial hemp is classified the same as cannabis sativa grown for non-industrial recreational purposes.
(Updated March 1, 2001)
Victim of Unlawful Search and Seizure May Not Sue for Damages for Legal Expenses Incurred
Briefed Case
Appeals court affirmed dismissal of a suit brought against officers who seized drugs from an individual's property in an improper manner, resulting in the criminal prosecution being dropped. There may be no suit to recover the legal expenses incurred in response to the incriminating evidence that resulted in the initial action.
(Updated March 1, 2001)
Federal Mail Fraud Does Not Apply to Most State-Issued Licenses
Briefed Case
Supreme Court held that federal mail fraud charges for theft of property via the mails did not apply to state-issued licenses to operate video poker machines. The applicants for the licenses did not steal any property from the state if they violated the license application procedure. They are subject to state law sanctions, but not federal mail fraud charges.
(Updated February 1, 2001)
U.S. Government May Cooperate with Other Nations in Most Criminal Investigations
Briefed Case
Appeals court upheld a district court order allowing the U.S. attorney to cooperate with the Russian government by providing information in a criminal tax fraud matter. The court noted that Congress had ordered cooperation with foreign legal matters so long as the court that reviews the request concludes that the request for assistance is reasonable.
(Updated December 1, 2000)
Interest May Be Added to Restitution Payment Owed by Thief to Victim
Briefed Case
Appeals court held that while the Kentucky statute on restitution to victims of crime did not address the issue of interest payments on the sum due, it was logical that interest be included in the restitution payments in order for victims to be made whole in their recovery.
(Updated November 1, 2000)
Putting Funds Obtained by Fraud into Bank Account, Without More, Is Not Money Laundering
Briefed Case
Appeals court reversed a conviction for money laundering. The defendant was properly convicted of participating in an insurance fraud scheme, but simply depositing the money obtained in that fraud into a checking account is not money laundering. That involves using the funds to support further criminal activity.
(Updated November 1, 2000)
Evidence from Warrantless Search of Pet Shop Allowed to Convict for Animal Cruelty
Briefed Case
Appeals court upheld the conviction of a pet store operator who was convicted of animal abuse based on evidence collected in a warrantless search of his store, which was entered when inspectors could see distressed and dead animals through the window of the locked shop.
(Updated September 1, 2000)
State-Issued Professional License May Be Forfeited for Violation of Federal Drug Laws
Briefed Case
Appeals court affirmed that a physician could be required to forfeit his state-issued license to practice medicine as part of the punishment for violating federal drug laws. The physician was found to have used his medical license to assist in the distribution of controlled substances.
(Updated June 1, 2000)
Civil Settlement Between Criminal Defendant and Victim Does Not Eliminate Restitution to Victim Ordered in Criminal Case
Briefed Case
Appeals court held that the restitution ordered by the court in a criminal conviction, which defendant is to pay his victim, was not extinguished by a civil settlement between the defendant and his victim that covered the same actions. The criminal matter and civil matters were separate.
(Updated May 1, 2000)
Aerial Search of Property Not a Violation of Right to Privacy
Briefed Case
Appeals court upheld the use of evidence seized upon search of a property with a warrant obtained after police flew over defendant's property in an airplane at a legal altitude. The aerial search was made based on a tip that there was marijuana growing on the property, which was the case. So long as the airplane was at a legal altitude, the search was legal.
(Updated April 1, 2000)
Criminal Case Outcome Might Not Determine Related Civil Case Outcome
Briefed Case
Appeals court held that a civil case that follows a criminal case on the same matter, may not result in collateral estoppel being used by the plaintiff to win summary judgment unless the issues in the civil case were fully developed and litigated in the criminal proceeding.
(Updated March 1, 2000)
No Warrant Needed to Search for Evidence in Apartment Complex Dumpster
Briefed Case
Appeals court upheld a conviction for dealing in drugs that was based upon a search by the police, without a warrant, of trash carried to a dumpster that contained cocaine wrappers. There is no protected privacy interest in garbage dumped in a communal dumpster that requires the police to obtain a warrant.
(Updated January 1, 2000)
Warrantless Search Allowed When Firm Contracts for Such Condition
Briefed Case
A dentist who was convicted of Medicaid fraud would not have his conviction overturned due to a search conducted of his office records without probable cause. To participate in the state program, he had agreed that his records would be open for state inspection without cause.
(Updated January 1, 2000)
RICO Claims Against Insurer May Proceed
Briefed Case
The Supreme Court held that the McCarran-Ferguson Act does not prohibit enforcement of federal statutes, including RICO, that do not conflict with the purpose of the Act to grant the states power to regulate insurance.
(Updated April 1, 1999)
Jurors Hold Position of High-Level Government Officials
Briefed Case
Appeals court affirmed conviction of juror who solicited a bribe from defendants' families. He was convicted of violating his duty as a government official with "high-level" decision-making authority.
(Updated October 19, 1998)
Legal Impossibility Not a Defense to Conspiracy to Steal Trade Secrets
Briefed Case
Appeals court held that defendants in criminal case involving conspiracy to steal trade secrets, in violation of Economic Espionage Act, do not have a right to see the trade secrets in question in an effort to prove that there were no trade secrets.
(Updated October 19, 1998)
Medicare Fraud by Physician Due Sentence Enhancement Under Guidelines
Briefed Case
Physician who engaged in Medicare fraud -- charging patients and the government for medical equipment not needed or obtained -- was properly tried. Sentence enhancement under Guidelines was proper because of her position of fiduciary responsibility.
(Updated October 5, 1998)
Privilege Against Self-Incrimination Not International in Scope
Briefed Case
Resident alien could not refuse to provide testimony about his activities during World War II because he feared prosecution by a foreign nation. There is no international application of the Fifth Amendment doctrine.
(Updated October 5, 1998)
Civil Penalties Imposed After Criminal Penalties Not Double Jeopardy
Briefed Case
Defendant sentenced to prison and to pay restitution could be required, in subsequent civil penalty action, to pay further damages and fines without violating the Double Jeopardy Clause of the Fifth Amendment, which only protects against serial criminal punishments for the same act.
(Updated May 29, 1998)
Sole Shareholder's Testimony Against His Corporation May Be Used Against the Corporation
Briefed Case
Promoter Don King testified in his criminal wire fraud trial, that resulted in mistrial, against his wholly-owned corporation. Appeals court held that King's contention that his statements against his corporation at the first trial could not be used at a second trial against him and his corporation because it would violate the Confrontation Clause was incorrect.
(Updated May 29, 1998)
Just Say "No" Not Protected If a Lie
Briefed Case
Defendant's claim that he could not be convicted for answering "no" to questions if he had engaged in illegal activites not protected by the "spirit" of the Fifth Amendment.
(Updated 4-6-98)

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